Kurt's Historic Sites

Annapolis, Maryland capitol Marshall

Maryland

Admission to the Union Sequence in Admission Sequence in Capitols I Have Visited
April 28, 1788 7th admitted 23rd visited

Photographed June 22, 2021.

The oldest of all the U.S. capitol buildings in continuous use is the Maryland State House in Annapolis. Its original construction began in 1772 and concluded in 1779. Like many capitols, though, it has experienced multiple additions and renovations. This image shows the side of the building that faces northwest. In the foreground is a memorial to jurist Thurgood Marshall, a native Marylander. The central sculpture depicts Marshall before he became the first Black person to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court — as a younger attorney. He faces out toward other statues, seated on benches. One is of Donald Murray, the plaintiff whom Marshall co-represented in the case Murray v. Pearson. Decided in 1936 by the Maryland Court of Appeals, the ruling in Murray v. Pearson forced the University of Maryland Law School to integrate. On another bench — seen on the right hand side of this picture — two bronze figures symbolize children affected by Marshall’s work in Brown v. Board of Education. That landmark U.S. Supreme Court case was a major victory for racial integration nation-wide.

The building’s interior dome is not as decorative as those of most other U.S. capitols, but it is still impressive. According to a sign in the rotunda, the dome rises 113 feet above the floor and looks as it did in the 1790s. Its plasterwork was primarily overseen by local plasterer Thomas Dance. On February 23, 1793 — before the project was completed — Dance fell from the dome to his death. It was completed the following year.

Photographed June 22, 2021.
Photographed June 22, 2021.

The heir to the Second Continental Congress, the Confederation Congress, held its meetings at the Maryland State House in 1783 and 1784, which made it the U.S. Capitol as well. That was where General George Washington tendered his resignation as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783, after the conclusion of the American Revolution. Many citizens viewed the war’s foremost figure’s decision to surrender his power and return to private life rather than become a military dictator as a momentous and inspirational occasion that was atypical to much of world history. This statue of Washington was created by the Brooklyn-based StudioEIS in 2014 and stands in the restored Old Senate Chamber, where his resignation took place.

I was accompanied on this state house sojourn by my friend Angelo’s father, Lou, who is like an uncle to me. He was emotionally moved by the statue of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman in the Old House of Delegates Chamber and asked me to photograph them together. This was shortly after Lou inadvertently broke a members/staff-only door on the ground floor of the capitol. Love you, Lou!

Photographed June 22, 2021.

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Maryland State Archives. “About the State House.” Accessed February 9, 2022. https://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdstatehouse/html/about.html.

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